How to fight gagging

A lot of us have serious problems when it comes to going to the dentist. We believe, out of hand that something terrible and painful will happen to us. This terrible thing may be the sound that the drills make, pain and toothache, bad news we did not want to hear, and for many people gagging is going to be a part of it. But let’s be real, this is completely normal. The gag reflex is automatic, and just happens when some kind of stimulus triggers it. It can be triggered by tastes, smells or even sights that disgust us, but it can be triggered mentally as well. The important thing is to not let this deter you from going to the dentist. Here are a few tips that may be able to help you with your issues.

1.    Use a nasal spray

You may be gagging because you can’t breathe properly, and this is frequently due to your nose being clogged. You can only breathe through your nose during dental treatment, and thus it is important to make sure that you are able to breathe through it. It is good to clean your always with a nasal spray before getting treatment. These sprays are made to prevent cold like symptoms, but they do contain some anesthetic, and thus can calm your throat and make you less likely to gag. Spray a little on the roof of your mouth or around your throat, and it will desensitize the whole area, making it effective in preventing gagging. The same thing can be said for sprays aimed at preventing snoring. They also work by desensitizing the area, and by reducing the sensitivity of the soft bits, you actually can stop the gag reflex from working.

2.    Get to know the implements

Before you start a dental treatment, get to know the instruments they will use on you. Many times the sight or taste of an unknown foreign object will stimulate the gag reflex, and the fear they may cause can also do likewise. Don’t be afraid to ask to touch and smell the implements so you will know what to expect. Those few minutes may calm you down entirely, and you may find that you did the whole thing without gagging.

3.    Change positions

The gag reflex tends to be stronger when lying down. If you find yourself gaging, ask the doctor if you can sit up a bit, and if you can have a few minutes to find a more comfortable position. It is not necessary to lie down for impressions either. If the dentist allows you to, stand up, walk around a bit. If this is untenable, lift one of your legs. This will make you concentrate on your leg, and may help your brain forget what si happening in the mouth.

4.    Drink more water!


Water refreshes you and also calms the urge to vomit. Most dental chairs have a small faucet on the patient side; just fill the cup underneath it with water. Discuss with your dentist that you have anxiety and are prone to gagging and that on your signal they should stop and let you rinse and drink some water. Most dentists will not be opposed, because the water will clean away the detritus from your mouth, making their job easier as well calming you down and making the treatment more pleasant for you.

5.    Distract yourself

If the dentistry has one, watch TV or a movie during treatment. If the dentistry doesn’t have one, bring an mp3 player or mess around on your phone. Listening to music may calm you, and the different audiovisual gadgets are perfect for distracting your attention. Make sure you speak to your dentist, and ask if the gadget you will be bringing will not distract him from his work.

6.    Practice at home

Every person has a different rate of susceptibility to gagging, but the intensity of the gag reflex can be lessened with practice. Grab a toothbrush and gently, slowly try and get closer to the area that makes you gag. Try and hold the reflex back, try and control it. With a few minutes of practice each night, you can achieve amazing results.

7.    Alternative methods

It is rare but not unheard of for bad experiences from childhood being responsible for an overactive gag reflex. If this is the case, it is necessary to face the troublesome incident and to treat the root of the problem. There are several acupuncture methods, hypnosis and meditation techniques available that can help with this.

8.    Be honest!

Having a strong gag reflex is not an unusual phenomenon, and is nothing to be ashamed of. Be honest with yourself and with your dentist. Talk to him/her about any possible problems. This will allow the dentist to be more circumspect when doing their job, and will help them to better understand your needs. They can then warn you before a difficult procedure, and can give you information better. This will calm you as well, as you will know what to expect.

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